Although ground turkey can be a healthy alternative to ground beef, this is not always the case. Some ground turkey products are not as lean as lean ground beef, so it is important to read the labels on ground turkey products and go for fat-free or lower-fat versions.
For example, when comparing 85 percent lean ground turkey to 95 percent extra lean ground beef, a 4-ounce serving of the ground turkey has 266 calories, 14.9 grams of fat and 3.8 grams of saturated fat while the ground beef contains 193 calories, 7.5 grams of fat and 3.4 grams of saturated fat. In this instance, ground turkey is not as healthy as ground beef. By contrast, the same serving size of 99 percent fat-free ground turkey breast has 120 calories, 1 fat gram and no saturated fat. Even lean ground turkey that is 93 or 94 percent fat free is a healthier choice than ground beef with higher amounts of fat.
Nutritional concerns about ground turkey aside, a joint study by the University of Maryland and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found that 24 percent of all ground turkey tested positive for Salmonella, some of which was resistant to antibiotics. Notably, because most nonorganic commercial turkeys are given antibiotics, and may become antibiotic resistant, organic ground turkey products are generally considered a healthier option.